Thursday, January 15, 2015

Serious Back Pain Relief With Essential Oils

Anyone with chronic back pain knows how disruptive this issue is. It effects everything you do and can put limits on what you're able to do.

I'll get the occasional backache, but my husband has had severe back pain for the last 3 years. He has scoliosis, a bulging disc and irregularly shaped vertebrae among a few other issues.

When he first injured it several years ago, he would literally cry out as his body tensed into the fetal position on the floor. I could see the muscles in his back pulsing and spasming in ripples.

The herniated lower disc would put pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing a tingling pain to radiate from the lower back and down the legs. His spine was also slightly twisted from a case of scoliosis.

That is, until a few weeks ago.

Serious Back Pain Relief

After three years of daily, moderate to severe pain, he's finally pain free. A few months ago he told me in amazement to feel his spine and asked me to tell him what I felt. "Nothing," I said, confused.
"Exactly.It's straight!" he replied back.

His spine hasn't been straight for a long time.

So what changed? Nothing magically happened overnight, but there were specific changes he had made in the past 4 months that played a significant role in this turning point.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The BEST Guide to Affording Organic Part 2

Eat heathy, yummy foods without spending tons of money!

(Part 2) - Want to be able to afford healthy food, but feel like it's not in your budget. And tired of hearing to just skip the latte, when you can't afford the $5 latte anyways?

In case you missed the first part of this series, I've given some of my best tips for how I (and you) can save some serious dough when it comes to buying healthy food. Read part 1 here.

Here are some other ways to save money while buying organic and natural foods!

Have a Cow

    If you have the freezer space (which is a worthwhile investment), this is a good way to stock up on meat. Buying a half or even a whole cow will really reduce the cost per pound. You can also split the investment with another family (or two or three) if you don't want that much meat.

Don't buy Cultured and Fermented Products

    Milk kefir and kombucha are a tasty way to majorly up your probiotic intake. But buying the individual bottles at the store will cost you about $3 per bottle. For a modest family of four drinking one each for just five days a week will cost around $60!

   You can purchase starter cultures from Cultures for Health or see if someone on a natural health Facebook board would be willing to share with you. I've gotten kefir grains and kombucha scobies for just the cost of shipping before from fermenting and culturing groups on Facebook.

   Yogurt is another really simple one to make. A few containers of plain, organic yogurt at the store is an expensive weekly investment. I just buy one container every few weeks and use 1/4 cup at a time to make a weekly quart of yogurt. Find some instructions for how to make it in your crockpot here.

Selectively Buy Organic Produce

    Switching over from conventional to purely organic produce can cost you twice as much. Every year the Environmental Working Group updates the "dirty dozen" list. This list discloses which items have the most pesticides used on them and are better to buy organic.

    By only buying organic if it's listed on the dirty list saves quite a bit. Apples are #1 on the list for pesticide contamination so we always buy those organic, but mushrooms are all the way at #36, so we just buy those conventional.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Healthy Chocolate Bar Recipe

healthy chocolate bar recipe via: How To Just About Anything

The holidays are a time where everyone seems to let loose a little with their dietary guidelines.

You’ll see even the strictest of eaters sneaking a cookie or two, like these gluten free jam thumbprints, during Christmas dinner.

Then there are those of us who like to stuff our faces with everything in sight. Pecan pie becomes an endangered species this time of year.

I’m glad to say though that there’s a happy medium ground.

Make Your Sweets & Eat Them Too

Healthier, real food desserts are simple to make and taste even better than their preservative laden, junk filled, store bought look alikes.

You can even create a nutrient dense dessert to enjoy, like these dark chocolate almond butter no bakes, or this eggnog that helps strengthen and remineralize teeth.

My biggest weakness though is chocolate.

Every year at Christmas my grandma would make the best fudge using marshmallow cream. It was creamy and fluffy and chocolaty.

healthy chocolate bar recipe via: How To Just About Anything

Everyone loved it and scarfed it down with sugar-crazed Christmas glee, but unfortunately it didn’t have a single wholesome ingredient.

I’ve since discovered that not only are healthier chocolate desserts possible, but they really are easy. We love drizzling this naturally sweetened hot fudge sauce on our ice cream.

And I’ve been making this chocolate bar recipe for the past year that uses superfood ingredients like coconut oil and raw honey.

Read more at Kitchen Stewardship

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Friday, November 21, 2014

DIY Manly Beard Oil - For Kissably Soft Beards!

DIY Beard Oil for kissably soft beards! via How To Just About Anything

Throughout high school my husband attended a private school that had pretty stringent standards. Collared shirts had to be buttoned to the top, your hair couldn’t touch your ears, and most importantly, no facial hair! Battling with psoriasis that caused inflamed and highly sensitive skin made daily shaving difficult at best. So when we got married, he announced that he was going to grow a beard.

Instead of making life easier though, he still dealt with sensitive skin, redness and itching on a daily basis. The beardruff and acne were very noticeable and a source of embarrassment for him. And every time I kissed him, I felt like I was kissing a brillo pad. I even avoided kissing him for awhile because it was so uncomfortable, which was of course not good for our marriage.

I knew there had to be a solution. He couldn’t be the only one with beard problems. My research brought me to the wonderful world of beard oil. I spent time researching which essential oils were good for hair, which ones helped with acne, dandruff, redness and patchy growth. My first attempt may have been really good for beards, but it smelled pretty awful!

I have since learned that essential oils have top, middle and base notes that can be combined in particular ratios. This yields a blend that is not only effective, but much more pleasing to the nose.

Get the recipes and read more here at Growing Up Herbal

This article was shared at 12 Days of Christmas blog hop

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Monday, November 17, 2014

DIY Bay Rum Aftershave

DIY Bay Rum Aftershave + Where to Buy it! via: How To Just About Anything

It can be hard to find a Christmas present for that special man in your life. Most "boy toys" are expensive, like snowmobiles, ski's, new TV's and even video games. Those price tags can add up fast!

So what do you get your husband, your brother or your dad this year that won't siphon your wallet and they'll still love? This diy aftershave is a perfect option!

My husband has had a beard for almost a year now (and I love it), but it can get scratchy. Until I made him this beard oil that is. Now it's soft and smells like clove or cedarwood. But for those men who do shave, they don't want to deal with itchy, dry skin either. Enter this aftershave.

Aftershave is designed to tighten the pores after a shave, but the alcohol can usually dry skin out. And most men aren't going to follow it up with a moisturizer. This recipe solves that problem with a super secret ingredient. Okay, it's not really that secret, but it's still pretty awesome.

Glycerin is great for skin because it draws moisture from deep in the skin and brings it up to the epidermis. You'll often find it in body care products and even toothpaste. It's not good for your teeth though, because glycerin doesn't rinse off easily. This prevents enamel from remineralizing, promoting decay and cavities. I make my own toothpaste without glycerin, fluoride, Sodium Laureth Sulfate or other nasties that you can check out here.

Because glycerin is so good at drawing moisture to the skin's surface, it needs to be paired with an oil. The two work together to make skin soft and moisturized. (source)

You would think that moisturizing the skin at the same time as you're toning it would be counterproductive. It's actually not as the ingredients all complement each other to keep skin feeling smooth and nourished.
DIY Bay Rum Aftershave + Where to Buy it! via: How To Just About Anything

Traditional bay rum recipes steep whole herbs and spices in rum for weeks, until their properties and fragrance are extracted. Unfortunately dried bay leaves don't leave much of a scent in an extract, and many of us don't have access to a live bay tree.

I've used essential oils instead, which are natural, powerful and highly effective. Not all essential oils are created equal though. At first I bought a cheap brand of bay rum to use for this, but as soon as I opened the bottle I knew it was a big mistake. It smelled like straight up chemical solvent! As I dumped it in the sink, the mysterious dark brown liquid left a stain and foul odor that lingered for hours.

From now on I stick with a quality company. See where I buy my essential oils here, and why this brand stood out to me here. I'll also sometimes buy organic oils from this company.

I found some really neat amber glass bottles from a bulk supply store, but you can also buy a few bottles from Amazon or Mountain Rose Herbs for a good price.

Bay Rum After Shave
  •  7.5 oz Witch hazel
  • 1 tsp Glycerin
  • 1 tsp Sweet almond oil
  • 2 Tbsp Spiced rum
  • 1 drop bay essential oil
  • 1 drop lime essential oil
  • 1 drop orange essential oil
  • 2 drops cinnamon essential oil
  • 2 drops vanilla essential oil
  • 2 drops black pepper essential oil
  • 1 drop clove essential oil
  1. Combine all ingredients in an 8 oz bottle and shake thoroughly to combine.
  2. Shake well before each use. Apply a dime or quarter size amount to palms and splash over freshly shaved skin.
Short on Time?

Don't have the time or energy to put this after shave together? It's available ready made in my Etsy shop, just in time for a Christmas present for your favorite man! Check out my other featured store items for some great gift ideas.